Saturday, February 20, 2010

1071 : The best things in life are free and off the curve

Caught up with mom for a quick coffee yesterday. So much happening in our lives, I needed that 10 minutes of “concentrated oversight” to feel reassured, and thats precisely what she did.

She told me something that I have already experienced multiple times,  but hearing it from her (again) felt good. She said something to this effect….

“Whenever life offers ya choices, invariably, the “right” choice might appear very difficult and out of reach. No matter how abstruse they appear, always go for the “right” choice, especially if you have the necessary conviction and gumption, overcome your insipid inertia – and then, as time unfolds, the rest of your life shall begin to beautifully adjust around it. At a point later, you shall always be so very glad, that you chose the “right” rather than the “easier” .”.

This advice is totally free and ridiculously simple, and yet it is so very  monstrously difficult to cultivate. I am glad I have someone to constantly remind me of it, at times almost like a chaperone, at others, silently encouraging my journey into what is “right”.

Thank Ya !! (Mom’s were (originally always) meant to be lighthouses anyway, so maybe I should not spend any of my gratitude on her ;-))))

1070 : Dumb it down, missy !!

Looks like the favorite preoccupation of this sign and times and is to “dumb it down”. Walk into “Crossword” and you shall see the “top sellers” full of local “pop fiction” – which is so inane and so full of bad English (exemplified by a glaring gaping role model called Chetan Bhagat), that my heart almost always miserably weeps.

Walk into movies and you shall struggle to find any subtleties, every bit of the plot is explained via spoken words (we forget that movies are essentially a visual medium…remember the silent era !!).

If the last few decades were full of physical laziness and winding down, the next few look like they shall be a journey into atrophy of the intellect.

Sit tight, wear your seatbelts, the ride has already begun !!

1069 : When the world ends…I shall be sipping wine

The more I live and experience life, the more I am sure that spirals definitely exist. And my hunch that, “if you break a spiral, the whole goddamn thingy unwinds” (more at 1029 - Continuous vs. spiral sine curves) has just been terribly reinforced in the past few days.

2010 seems to a “good” one. Lets make sure that this positive spiral is fed so much that it last long into the night.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

1068 : Bombay Bangalore Drive

We just finished the 1040km door to door Bombay Bangalore drive. It took me a driving time of about 19 hours which is not really bad, but which is much worse than expected. I wanted to achieve it in 12-14 hrs over a 2 day period.

The biggest fuck up is the Hubli - Chitradurga 150km NH4 stretch. It looks like a war zone, feels like a war zone and is a war zone. This stretch alone took us some 5 hrs to negotiate. Its terrible…..

Full of single lane bad roads and trucks, its a nightmare.

And on the route we paid toll a total of 12 times….(I think), and for some fucking bumsole reason, the guys at Karanataka want your car number on the reciept….and the toll gates add 10 minutes of delay everytime you encounter them, due to huge queue of cars.

NHAI needs to learn to make our lives easier, not harder….but then who in their right mind expects this to happen in the next 15 years. Thats the beauty of my country :-)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

1067 : Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness


I think I have some clue why I felt so weirdly “fading”  at 8pm today.  I finished Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness at 745pm.

This is the BEST (read my lips B E S T) book I have read in the past 10 odd years. I think I read the last book which left such an impression on me was “The Last Jet Engine Laugh” by Ruchir Joshi.


This book is about an Alzheimer patient called Jacob (Jake) and his travails.

What I loved about it, and absolutely loved it
- The book is not about pain, dejection, melancholy, anguish….its what it is. It tells a story, as life is.
- Language is poetry in motion. There are parts of this book, which I can read every day of the rest of my life, just like I would read the Bible.
- The narrative plot is a genius. The first person bits are tottering, factually incorrect, just like that of a Alzheimer patient. The second person bits are strange and “fading”.
- The book does not clarify, it leaves you with multiple versions of the same incident, all of them (or none of them) could be correct.
- At the end of the book, you feel you know Jake as intimately as if he were your own brother. You want to see him survive in his battle against his memory….want to see him soar, want to hear him sing….want to see him end peacefully.

If you like Rushdie or Gabriel Garcia or JM Coetzee, go for this – this book shall leave you mesmerized and strangely “fading”….a feeling which is neither good nor bad…it just is.

The best 500 rupees, I have spent in the last 10 years.

1066 : Who is the one who is cooking?

I love cooking, and sis, mother and wife think I am the best F***king cook on this planet (obviously, buddy, that is their love speaking…love is usually….no….love is always and always blind ))

I enjoy cooking, and going through the whole rigmarole, cleaning, washing, cutting, cooking, tasting and serving…..nothing pleases me than watching home cooked food being devoured by loved ones.

My wife often asks me, how do I manage to cook things well? Where do I get my recipes from? Strangely, I never ever have an answer for it.

Like I made aloo methi today after almost an year. I don’t have a written recipe. I don’t even have a mental “in your head” recipe.

For me, cooking is almost like typing. I dont know the QWERTY keyboard by rote– as in I can’t recite it, but yes, I can type at 20 words a minute using 4-6 fingers  and never once looking at the keyboard (never learned typing formally).

Similarly, I can never write down or explain what goes into the perfect aloo methi….but give me a kitchen….and the magic works itself.

It surprises me (more than anyone else) where that “magic” works from….where does it flow from.  Its almost as if, my hands and eyes know how to cook, but my active brain has no f***king clue of what is happening.

Question is, if it is not within me, then where does the “cook” live?

Is this what is often confused as the “God” within us?

1065 : Do we get to choose our memories, or do they choose us? (Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness Pg 328)

The man turns away and rotates his thumbs around one another, then threads his fingers through the mesh. Something in that gesture of dejection reminds him of somebody. It is always this: something, somebody. Everything unspecific and free-floating.

One day he would like to build a thing like for birds, but he would like to do it with glass. He wonders how it is done, and searches through an archive of other one-day thoughts and decides whether to guard them or dispose of them: at some point in his life, for example, he would he marry, he would like to build something, he would like to have children. There is a clean slate and a run of events to be chosen or not. For the finest shard of time he believes that he has had his life and that it is over, and a panic grips him because he cannot remember it, not a thing, he has had it and lost it, or it has lost him. The fear isolates in a flash of yellow tearing up to the top of the glass mountain. Loss. But he must not consider it.

Nothing is list, those choices are yet to be made. As they walk on he looks up at the mesh that knits paths above him and searches out the pattern, and the patterns in the patterns, and the patterns inside those, until he has to close his eyes to the logic and settle for the yellow on the inside of his vision, which sparks and then rapidly fades. He grips the hand that has found his, opens his eyes and walks on.

(-Samantha Harvey The Wildnerness Pg 238)

1064 : Don’t cry for me tormentina :-)

Its 8pm in the evening, and I feel like weeping out aloud….and I don’t remember the last time I sobbed (nah…its nothing to do with the macho-bacho thing….its just that my tear glands went barren a few years ago )

Strangely, it comes on a day, when my sis told me a rather amusing (in retrospect, our whole fucking lives are so goddamned amusing and awesome) of a day when she started randomly bawling (years ago).

And no, hell no, I see, not even a vague co-relation between her (suspiciously) similar tale and my own random act of water pumping.

So why do I want to cry?
Unhappy. Hell, no.
Sad. Not that I know of.
Tired. Maybe, yes, but whoTF weeps because he is tired.
Melancholy. I lug a bag of that around all the time….it feels part of me….so no wasting water on this business.
Confused. Who is not in these times and age.
Bored. Definitely not.
Wanting. What? I have everything and more of everything I ever wanted.
Love. Have tons of it.
Kisses. Get a dozen and a score everyday from my loved ones.
Gems. Too old those tiny pellets :-)

So whatTF is it?
Don’t exactly know. But the only word that comes to my fingers (am typing dumbos), is a word called “fading”.

What does fading mean?
In actuality, it means “Nothing”. And yet, it means, on the going away…..

So, what is fading? I don’t know.

Why cry for something you don’t know? Possibly, because “I don’t know”, I feel like crying.

Crying is a privelege life offers us when we feel something is “fading” in our guts, but cannot point at and ascertain. That probably explains my random desire to eye pee :-)

Monday, February 08, 2010

1063 : Atypical response to a atypical situation

If you show behavior traits of being off the curve, the universe around usually responds in two ways.
1. Around 70 to 80% of the world around wants simply to see you break. They want you to conform, jump into the larger lumpen.
2. A smaller population of around 20% wants to help you in a way, such that you can bend around the conforms of the world, and life for both sides of the divide easier.

What's kind of (very) sad, is the 3rd (missing!!) category, of folks who will want to try out the different, because they see you practice it, virtually don’t exist. They actually do, but because they are so small (less than 1%) that there is no statistical sense in plotting them.

If  my data collection sense is right, the world does not portend well for John Galt, neither does it bestow any favors on itself.

I have often argued this point to death,  with friends and family, that unless we encourage our children and cherished ones to taste the wine from the “off the curve” cellar, we shall never allow them to trudge the path of personal greatness – because “personal greatness” involves flirting with the borders of the 3 sigma curve :-) (at the least !!)

1062 Lyrics + Translation : Dil to Bacha hai ji ( or Dil Toh Bachcha hai ji) from Ishqiya with my feeble attempts at an English translation

Brilliant song, Gulzar back in form (after a varicose Veer!!), Rahat Fateh Ali Khan with his melancholic soliloquy, Vishal giving a spanish twist to the music (hark back to the Shankar Jaikishen days), and what you have is an souped up extremely addictive ballad.

This will remain popular, long after the movie dies within the urban dementia :-)

Below are the lyrics, and my (wannabe poetsy) translation :-)

Aisi uljhi nazar unse hatt ti nahi
Daant se reshmi dor katt ti nahi
Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi

(My entwined eyes don’t seem to want to quit staring at her,
My tongue tied teeth cannot (even) cut through a simple silk thread,
My life is far past an age where the white (hair) shows,
And yet, the dense cloudy veneer of (my) youth refuses to fade away)

Walla ye dhadkan bhadne lagi hai
Chehre ki rangat udne lagi hai
Darr lagta hai tanha sone mein ji

(Oh my dear, my heart is started racing again,
My cheery cheeks have started bloody blushing again (my face has started losing color),
(Rightfully so), I am now so scared of falling asleep all alone)

Dil to bachcha hai ji
Dil to bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil to baccha hai ji

(My heart has become like that of a child (again)
A little naive, a little gullible,
Yes, indeed, innocent like that of a child)

Aisi ulji nazar unse hatt ti nahi
Daant se reshmi dor katt ti nahi
Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi
Ra ra ra ..

Kisko pataa tha pehlu mein rakha
Dil aisa baaji bhi hoga
Hum to hamesha samajhte the koi
Hum jaisa haaji hi hoga

(The heart which I wore (and hid) under my sleeve,
I never did expect, would (eventually) turn out to be this impish scimpish,
I instead always (for some reason, wrongly) believed,
That my heart was exactly a thorough gentleman like me)

Hai zor karein, kitna shor karein
Bewaja baatein pe ainwe gaur karein
Dilsa koi kameena nahi
Koi to rokey, koi to tokey
Iss umar mein ab khaogey dhokhe
Darr lagta hai ishq karne mein ji

(Now that it is enticed, (and then) it creates commotion
It has started reading too much into these seemingly commonplace gestures,
There is seemingly no scurry scoundrel like this heart of mine,
Please someone try to rein it in, oh, please someone try to drill in some sense (at least),
(Try to remind it) that at this tiring age, he is going to be beguiled and betrayed,
(Rightfully so), now I am so very scared of falling in love)

Dil to bachcha hai ji
Dil to bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil to baccha hai ji

Aisi udhaasi baithi hai dil pe
Hassne se ghabra rahe hain
Saari jawani katra ke kaati
Piri mein takra gaye hain

(I am lugging around,  so much of the sweet sorrow in my heart,
That it now visibly afraid to even laugh out in the open,
All my (wasted) youth, I cautiously avoided this malaise (of love)
And now (ironically), I am meeting him (love) on the same street)

Dil dhadakta hai to aise lagta hai woh
Aa raha hai yahin dekhta hi na woh
Prem ki maarein kataar re
Taubah ye lamhe katt te nahi kyun
Aankhein se meri hatt te nahi kyun
Darr lagta hai mujhse kehne mein ji

(When my heart pulsates (like this),
It feels as if she is coming right towards here, looking straight at me,
Darting arrows poisoned with her love and longing,
(No wonder) why these magic moments seem to be infinitely protracted,
And they(these moments) seem to swarm all over my vision and eyes (overwhelming me),
(Rightly so) I am so scared to admit all this to even my own self,

Dil toh bachcha hai ji
Dil toh bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil toh baccha hai ji

Sunday, February 07, 2010

1061 : D Company

Yesterday, we heard about a “couple” who is (more like) family to us - were separating. I was slightly surprised, but not very shocked. In my view, flowing apart is as natural as coming together… most cases, its a question of when, rather than why.

Amongst other things spoken, was a comment I heard, “but they appeared such good friends, and like they were really getting along.”

On the drive later that night, I was telling spousey, that if two people decide to separate amicably, invariably it means “their friendship is multiple times more honest and mature” than an average marriage or relationship – so in effect I don’t see any dichotomy between “great friendship” and separation.

Living together, or marriage is as much more of an inspirational symbol than a modern reality – and as my favorite aphorism goes – we often confuse symbols with reality, so much so that some point believing that the only reality is the facade of symbols.

1060 : Happy in the nick of time

Having 4 cups of your mom’s coffee, all within the space of a couple of  hours (the last one being at 1am in the morning) must rank as one of the most kicking moments in my recent life. Hey, but, seriously….. Poison seems to help me fight the moment of death, very contrary to herd belief :-)

…….Happiness is always floating around, buoyed by the (mom’s best) coffee – sometimes shaved by a nick, at others shorn of the time.

(Afternote : Its kind of “negative kelvin” ubercool, when you are not being judged or reminded of “the poison” and its “terrible” effects – instead you are just being fondly indulged !! “Kanna, will you have another cup….” are the only spoken words on this topic.
No “sleep pattern alteration”, no “too much caffeine”, no “too much acidity” kind of conversation…..makes me very happy to realize that at least a few  people clearly realize what makes me happy. Ting Tong :-))

1059 : Why is a man anxious ? (From Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness Pg 222)

Why are you so anxious? Helen read.
If his memory served him, then she pressed the thumb into the cushion of skin between the eyes. Jesus asked his disciples. Why are you so anxious?
She smoothed the creases from his brow with her thumb.
Do not be anxious about anything. It will not add a day to your life.
He told her he had just seen his mother at the beach. That was nice, she replied. Did seeing his mother make him anxious?
In only he could have told her then! Helen, a man is anxious because he has too much time and not enough to think about. A man is anxious because he has lost too much time and has ended up thinking about all he should have thought about when he had the time.

(From Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness Pg 222)

1058 : And a terrible beauty is born : Movie 43 : Ishqiya

ishqiya1 ishqiya2 ishqiya-review Vidya_Balan2


MaPa and us caught up with Ishqiya yesterday.

What did I think of the movie? In one word it is “awesome”….its definitely a movie right up there with the likes of Maqbool….though it is not a Vishal Bharadwaj directed movie.

What I liked about the movie
- Casting – Naseer is outstanding, Arshad is completely believable and Vidya Balan is gorgeous ( a word I have not used for an outsider in a really long time).
- Dialogues – One of the best written screenplays, I have ever heard.
- Music – Gulzar, Vishal Bharadwaj both are in their quintessential mood.
- Background score is haunting (For me, that is always such an essential but ignored parts of a movie)
- Camerawork and cinematography are so raw and so real, you almost forget you are watching a movie (you know the shots are of “dusk” just by the light conditions).
- Characterization – Every single character (including “Nandu” who just plays a 2 minute cameo) is clearly etched out, and you know the motivations and drivers for each of them

What could have been better
- Editing which is super snazzy in the movie, could have been slightly more better.
- I honestly cannot think of any other improvement.

A perfect 10/10 in my score. A definite for the DVD collection, and I can watch this movie 2 times back to back if I have to, its that good.

Go drape yourself in its tapestry, and you might get a sense of why “3 idiots” is such a scumbag movie…..Ishqiya is story telling and movie making at its defining best…..almost, a la Maqbool.

1057 : Let it be, let it be….accept and grin !!

I was talking to MaPa (mom and pa) yesterday, updating her about my -between-job-status” and the fact that though not finalized yet, how my new job could potentially mean some relocation( at least).

Most people I have spoken to about this, so far have had reactions of shock and then a muted “if thats how it is, then so be it.”….and for people close to me, its also a pain of separation (on both sides actually!!)

Ma’s first reaction was “awesome” and Pa said, “just go for it, you will be infinitely wiser for it”. They both encouraged saying “we don’t understand what it is you do at work, but for your happiness, if you have to travel a bit, then do it, we will all make time for each other.”

It was also fascinating to hear Ma innately understand that I draw my happiness and energy out of my work, and for me work is not really a means to an end, it is “the be all end all”. She added “given that, you must do whatever is necessary for the sake of a good job.”

Its refreshingly (and pleasantly surprising) to get this level of understanding and acceptance from the loving world around you.

(Then there is my lovely sister, who definitely hates ;-) me for (possibly) moving, but again shows superwomanish traits in accepting and letting me be, almost saying in the initial days "do what you have to....we shall make time for each other".
A muaah for all you. You all define my world, and if I move, I will try and ensure that my world revolves a little faster :-)....that way, I shall have some overlap with you loved ones.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

1056 : Eat the best first, or worst last (Pg. 145 from Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness)

Helen watched him dissect his cake.
”You are eating the yellow sections first.", she remarked.
”Yes, I don’t like them.”
”So, in that case you leave them till the last.”
”No, you save the best till last.”

She, too, was eating the yellow sections, because, he deduced, they were her favorites : the same action, opposite motivations. Like all things they did? Like getting married? Having a child? They both ate with strategy, a cube at a time, peeling the marzipan away.

”You don’t like marzipan?”, he asked.
”It’s horrible.”
”Then you will be left with it, and you’ll wish you’d eaten it first.”
”I won’t wish I’d eaten it first, because if I’d eaten it first I’d feel sick and wouldn’t be able to eat the rest.”

He shook his head and smiled. “No, no. Its like making a sacrifice. Making an initial sacrifice before the feast – to appease the gods of hunger”.
”Gods”, she laughed, leaning forward and whispering, “You and your little pagan gods.”

(-Pg 145 from Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness)

1055 : Fury

Its difficult to use another word in the place of “fury”. Fury is usually a product of deep emotion/passion, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the evil that men do :-)

Its usually fury that blinds the “rational”, its fury that makes a sane man commit murder, its fury that blindsides the meek, its fury that is part of every surrender and seek.

Why am I talking of fury? Have been suffering from bouts of fury in the past few days. A clandestine crime is seen hovering on the horizon.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

1054 : We are recruiting demolition men !!

I was having a family  dinner yesterday, and the conversation shifted to how – in all the wormholes, there are certain characters who are complete wrong hires, and yet seem to have infinite power (over us imbeciles). They come in and destroy the order in the current world and replace them with a new order …..chaos!!.

We were laughing our hearts while recognizing, that “wrong hire” bit apart, but the “chosen” ones definitely have an innate talent to lend chaos to the world….as if, they are/were natural demolition men !!

On a diabolical note, would it be wrong to assume that they were hired by a “Joker” worshipping manager, who “only wants to see the world burn” ?????

Given that we find so many modern day “jokers” floating around, we propose a hierarchy for them

Entropy Analyst – he is hired fresh from school and he learns how to insert chaos and disrupt things.
Entropy Management Catalyst – he is in the upper echelons and is now a certified chaos provider. Just his presence is enough to let the world crash.
Entropy Specialist – He specializes in carpet bombing and mentoring other entropy evangelists.
Chief Entropy Organizer – he is the one who decides which part of the world should burn. He is the strategy and thought behind the process.

We were having such a gala laugh yesterday. We were primarily drawing from our experiences from advertising and IT services. I am sure such “role models” exist in your wormhole world too… to let me know if we need to add a few more designations to the “esteemed” hierarchy.

1053 : Burfi’s Law

Like Murphy’s Law, spousey believes, when burfi’s are kept in a large box (i.e. they are available in aplenty), no one wants to eat them due to “health”, “sugar”, “taste”, “quality” and hazaar other reasons.

As soon as they come down to the last 2 pieces, then 10 folks swoon upon them and squabble like children, as if they were the last pieces of Burfi to be ever made in this free world.

That, my friends is spousey’s Burfi’s Law.

1052 Wormhole jargonbuster 7 – JFDI

JDFI is 4 letters for “Just Fucking Do It”. Used to convey diktats and client/management directions which cannot be questioned or pushed back.

Current use:
Like we say “please respond asap”, we can say, “this needs to be done JFDI. thanks”, or “boss, I was asked to do this JFDI, and hence I did this without questioning it. If you have problems please walk upto the CXO”.

Fun Fact:
JDFI = ASAP without the mandatory(and usually stupid) questions that come along :-)

(Thanks to Vikram Naik who conducted my education on this.)

1051 : Wisdom of a modern day Dilbert

I work in a corporate wormhole, just as all my friends and acquaintances do. Some in  technology, some in advertising, some in banking….but a wormhole by any other name is still a wormhole.

In that sense, I am a modern day dysfunction. My world during the day is THE wormhole, my conversation in the evening over beer is about A wormhole, and at night with spousey is again wormhole re-visited.

No farms, no animals, no rackets, no shenanigans, no……(and so on) – unless of course you can seek the specimen of the species at the wormhole itself.

Get the drift.

So much “wormholing” in my life – its only fair, I only dedicate a section of the blog to Dilbert and his modern day apostles.

Some of these posts will be juvenile and irreverent (use them as a destressor) and some of these shall be simple enough normal wormhole observations.

Lets start the journey.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

1050 : On why we must fight….

One must always fight back, not in the hope of winning, but just to delay the moment of losing.

(From Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness Pg 39)

1049 : The lucky fool….

(related to the previous post)

“Fools are often lucky”, she translated. “Yes, you are right. It is a queer law of the universe. If the clever man jumps into the canyon he falls to his death. If a fool jumps into the canyon, he falls into a boat and sails off down the water”

(from Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness Pg 134)

1048 : A (non-)idiot’s swan song

I was talking to someone yesterday and he made a very interesting point about “idiots”, which was …..

Never argue or indulge an idiot.
Because if you do, the idiot will invariably and assiduously try to drag you down to his (her) level of foolishness. Eventually (just a question of time), your descent will be complete.
At that point, there is no way you shall ever win over the idiot, because at the “current level”, lies his “circle of competence”, he excels at rabid foolishness… effect, you shall be fighting Mike Tyson with winter gloves on… way you can win NOW.